One of our favorite DSLRs in the past few years is the Nikon D7100, which was introduced way back in February 2013. The D7200 isn't a radical upgrade by any means, yet it still adds some important features, most notably a larger buffer, improved autofocus performance in low light, 60p video, Wi-Fi with NFC, and 15% better battery life.

The D7200 is Nikon's high-end APS-C camera, and is the only DX format camera in the company's current lineup to support autofocus on screw drive lenses. It finds itself in the same class as the Canon EOS 7D Mark II, Pentax K-3, and Sony SLT-A77 II DSLRs as well as the Fujifilm X-T1, Olympus OM-D E-M5 II, Samsung NX1, and Sony Alpha 7 II mirrorless cameras. In other words, it's a very crowded field.

Nikon D7200 key features

  • 24.2MP CMOS sensor with no optical low-pass filter
  • Multi-CAM 3500DX II 51-point AF system, all sensitive to -3EV
  • 2,016-pixel RGB metering sensor, used for 3D subject tracking in AF-C
  • ISO 100-25,600, with ISO 51,200 and 102,400 black and white modes
  • 6 fps continuous shooting (7 fps in 1.3x crop mode) with increased buffer depth
  • 1/8000 sec maximum shutter speed
  • 3.2", 1.2M dot RGBW LCD display
  • 1080/60p video (1.3x crop only) with clean output over HDMI and Flat Picture Control
  • Dual SD card slots
  • Wi-Fi with NFC
  • Magnesium alloy weather-sealed body

One of the most important features on the D7200 is its improved AF system. Nikon has updated the D7200 to its Multi-CAM 3500DX II system, which still offers 51 AF points (the central 15 of which are cross-type), but now all of those points are sensitive to -3EV, while the D7100's were limited to -2EV.

The most obvious improvement in the D7200 compared to the D7100 will be noticed by anyone who shoots continuously. The buffer size on the D7100 was tiny and filled up almost instantly, which not only affected burst shooting but bracketing as well. You can now fire away with the D7200 for up to 18 14-bit lossless compressed, 27 12-bit compressed Raws, or 100+ JPEGs. The maximum burst rate remains the same: 6 fps at full size and 7 fps in 1.3x crop mode.

The D7200 can now extend its ISO higher than on its predecessor, but with a catch. Seeing how little color detail would be left at ISO 51,200 and 102,400, Nikon has chosen to make those two sensitivities black and white only.

Two other new features of note are 60p video (with Flat Picture Control, also available for stills) and Wi-Fi. While the addition of 60p video is nice, it's only available in 1.3x crop mode. The D7200 also has Wi-Fi with NFC, which Nikon has branded 'SnapBridge', which allows for remote camera control and image transfer.

Compared to D7100

 
Nikon D7100
Nikon D7200
Pixel count 24.1MP 24.2MP
Processor Expeed 3 Expeed 4
Optical low-pass filter No
ISO range (expanded) 100-51,200 100-102,400
(51,200 and 102,000 black & white)
AF system Multi-CAM 3500DX Multi-CAM 3500DX II
AF sensitivity -2EV -3EV
Maximum frame rate 6 fps (7 fps in 1.3x crop mode, 5fps with 14-bit Raw)
Buffer depth * 6 Raw, 50 JPEG 18 Raw, 100 JPEG
Maximum video quality 1080/60i (1.3x crop mode) 1080/60p (1.3x crop mode)
Flat picture control No Yes
LCD display 3.2" 1.2M dot RGBW
Wi-Fi No Yes, with NFC
Dual memory card slots Yes (SD/SDHC/SDXC)
Battery used EN-EL15
Battery life 950 shots 1110 shots
* Raw files are 14-bit lossless compressed, the default setting

It's interesting to note that the sensor has a slightly difference pixel count to its predecessor, which suggests a new sensor. This can only be good news since, although it performed well by many measures, the Toshiba sensor in the D7100 would exhibit pronounced banding once you hit its noise floor. We've seen Nikon's continued use of Sony sensors in many of its other models, including the APS-C D5500; however, a close inspection of the D7200's sensor, and furthermore lab results, both suggest it's not using the same sensor as the D5500. We'd venture to guess an updated version of the Toshiba sensor used in the D7100 makes an appearance in the D7200 and, with it, comes an improvement in dynamic range due to a complete lack of banding in shadows of base ISO files.

The basic AF layout is the same on the D7200 as it was on the D7100. There are 51 points, with the center 15 being cross-type. On the D7100 though, AF points were sensitive down to -2EV. On the D7200, they're all sensitive down to -3EV, which will be a boon for low light shooting.

As mentioned above, the D7200's new autofocus system is a big deal. You can focus in conditions a full stop dimmer, and our tests with the updated Multi-CAM 3500 II sensor in the D750 showed that it continued to focus in significantly darker conditions than the Multi-CAM 3500 sensor in the D810 (a DX variant of which was used in the D7100). What this means is that the camera will focus a whole lot better in low light conditions, across the entire frame. In other words, its non-central AF points will likely focus in dimmer conditions than any other DSLR out there, save for Nikon's own D750.

Cross-type points remain limited to the central 15 though, and the RGB metering sensor used for TTL metering is unchanged at a resolution of 2,016 pixels. It's a shame that this number isn't higher. The recently released Canon 7D Mark II itself offers a 150,000-pixel RGB+IR metering sensor which, like Nikon's cameras with 91k-pixel sensors, has enough resolution to even detect faces and focus on them during OVF shooting. But Nikon's algorithms for 3D tracking just seem to be better (Canon's iTR in the 7D Mark II is imprecise and laggy in comparison, despite its higher resolution metering sensor), so we're fans of Nikon's subject tracking algorithms in combination with their higher resolution metering sensors.

If you want to control your camera without laying a hand on it, then you'll appreciate the D7200's built-in Wi-Fi. Naturally, photos can be transferred and shared, which is extra-easy if you have a NFC-compatible smartphone.

Lastly, there's battery life. Perhaps its due to the more efficient Expeed 4 processor, but whatever Nikon has done, it's managed to squeeze another 160 shots per charge out of the D7200 compared to the D7100.

Pricing and Availability

The D7200 is available with and without a lens, in the USA. For the body only it will be priced at $1199.95, and if you throw in the 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR lens the price rises to $1699.95. 

Review Timeline:

• March 2nd, 2015: Original First Impressions Review published
• April 1st, 2015: Samples gallery added
• April 30th, 2015: Operation & Controls, Menus, Studio Test Scene and Raw Dynamic Range pages added.
• June 2nd, 2015: Shooting Experience, Video & Wi-Fi, Autofocus and Conclusion pages added.